Friday, March 25, 2016

Baby food ideas

**I wrote this several months ago. Baby is now a year old, and mostly eats whatever we are eating. I typically cut things into bite-sized pieces and let her feed herself. She enjoys being fed from a fork, too, and when we put food on a spoon & allow her to get the spoon to her mouth!**

I like to do things myself, and making my own baby food for our daughter has been a given! I'm recording what has worked for us in order to remember for future babies, and to give others ideas.

I've listed things in the general order we introduced them (though I'm sure it's not perfect! I don't remember exactly when we gave her certain foods!). 

Items with an asterisk (*) are items I've frozen in small portions. I prepare a batch and then freeze scoops on a cookie tray or in a silicone ice cube tray. I keep the frozen portions in labeled Ziploc bags and pull out 1-2 portions at a time to heat for her meals, and I mix and match what I give her, usually, for variety. 

I frequently thin foods out with formula, or mix it in to cool something I just microwaved.

She's been a great eater, overall, and has done well with everything listed below.

Starting at about 5 months:
  • oatmeal (I grid up old-fashioned oats in a blender. It is easy to scoop some of this powder into a bowl and add water and microwave it for her breakfast)
  • applesauce* (I peel/core/slice gala apples, steam them until they are very soft, then stick them in the food processor)
  • pears
  • lentils* (cooked until soft, then pureed)
  • squash*: zucchini, butternut, acorn
  • rice* (I ground up brown rice in a blender. I found I had to cook it & freeze it afterward, instead of relying on it cooking in the microwave)
6 months:
  • yogurt (plain whole -- you can make it at home!)
  • avocado (I sometimes mash it with the back of a spoon, or sometimes cut it into small pieces that she can sort of feed herself -- it does get rather slippery, though)
  • chicken* (pureed baby food from a jar... or, alternately, I have boiled a chicken breast and pureed it (thinning it with some of the broth from boiling))
  • sweet potatoes* (roasted in the oven, then mashed with a spoon or pureed in the food processor)
  • carrots* (boiled or steamed and then mashed/pureed)
  • spinach* (frozen, then microwaved so it's softer, and pureed)
  • bananas (mashed, or cut into small pieces for her to feed to herself)
  • peaches (cooked & mashed -- but depending on how soft, this could be cut into small pieces as well)
7 months:
  • cinnamon (to flavor her oatmeal)
  • beef (pureed baby food from a jar)
  • turkey (pureed baby food from a jar)
  • peas (she feeds them to herself -- I just heat up frozen peas for her and sprinkle a couple tablespoons worth onto her high chair tray)
  • Cheerios (she feeds dry Cheerios to herself)
  • cheese (just bits of shredded cheese)
  • mango (frozen -- microwaved & then mashed. I give it to her on its own or mixed into cereal or yogurt)
  • blueberries (frozen -- microwaved & then mashed. I give it to her on its own or mixed into cereal or yogurt)
  • bread (she feeds herself)
  • "sandwiches" (I take a slice of bread, spread baby food meat on it (so it's an open-faced "sandwich"), and give it to her. She loves feeding herself!)
  • broccoli (steamed & cut into small pieces (florets only so far))
  • pumpkin (I gave her canned pumpkin slightly warmed. It mixes into cereal well, or meat)
  • barley (in the form of Malt-O-Meal, a cereal mix of wheat and barley)
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
A lot of these things I combine now. Some unlikely combinations work pretty well. I like mixing fruit into her cereals, but some fruit mixes well with meat (like applesauce with chicken or turkey). I mix yogurt into cereal sometimes, too. 

Dinners usually consist of a starch/grain, a protein, and a vegetable. Breakfast is usually a cereal with a fruit and maybe yogurt. Lunch varies! 

At most meals I give her some finger foods, too -- peas, Cheerios, bread, cut up soft veggies. That allows for us to eat with her, too -- she works on the finger foods while we eat our food!

Resources I have found to be helpful:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Turkey Tetrazzini/Casserole

As a continuation of my quest to find good recipes for leftover turkey, I made this.

Honestly, this was my first experience whatsoever with a "Tetrazzini" -- I just looked up the term, and even though I based this on a recipe called Turkey Tetrazzini, I don't think the name really applies here.

At any rate, this was a winner in our house! I had my doubts at first, but seriously, with pasta and cream of chicken soup, how bad could it really be?! Food snobs, please don't answer that.

Turkey "Tetrazzini" -- or we can just call it a Casserole

8 oz dry pasta of choice -- I used tri-colored rotini & I would do it again!
1 cup broccoli, steamed/boiled until tender but several minutes from mushy (or frozen broccoli, thawed)
1 cup cubed cooked turkey
1, 10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 cup water
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used a "fiesta mix" with cheddar, jack, ...? anyway, it worked.)
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain and place into 9x9 glass baking dish.
  3. Arrange broccoli on top of pasta in baking dish. Add turkey on top of broccoli.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine cream of chicken soup, water, bouillon (alternately, use chicken broth in place of water & bouillon), celery, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour as evenly as possible over pasta/broccoli/turkey.
  5. Sprinkle cheese evenly on top. Lastly, sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes at 350°F. Serve hot with a glass of cold milk!

Turkey Soup

We cooked a turkey over the weekend, mainly to get it out of our freezer, but also because we had family in town and figured it would be best to cook it with a few extra eaters on hand. Even though it was "only" a 13-pounder, we have lots of leftovers.

I thrive on variety, so I've been attempting to find some good recipes for leftover turkey. I just can't handle the same thing more than about 2 days in a row! Also, thanks to a suggestion from the man of the house, I've started trying new recipes in manageable portions (due to some disappointing flops on a large scale...). This has been very helpful to me. I hate throwing food out, and I really hate throwing food out because I can't stomach it even though the recipe seemed promising!

Anyway, a friend gave me some homemade bread & recommended having it with soup, so I took her up on it! I found a recipe that suggested adding beef broth to turkey soup, so I tried that out, too.

I'm not a huge soup person, but I thought this was AMAZING!

I used some OLD cannery soup mix, mainly to try using it up, but you could alternately use rice or pasta (just decrease the cooking time by a lot!). In fact, with pasta, I would probably omit the first hour of simmering (below) and add noodles a few minutes after everything else.

Turkey Soup

1/2 cup LDS cannery soup mix (contains alphabet macaroni, rice, split peas, lentils, dehydrated onions) (Do they even sell this anymore? I can't find any information online.)
5 cups water
2 tsp chicken bouillon
1 tsp beef soup base
**Alternately, use chicken stock and beef stock and decrease water proportionately**
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup cubed cooked turkey
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dehydrated onions
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine soup mix, water, chicken bouillon and beef soup base in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling.
  2. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a simmer for about one hour.
  3. Add celery, carrots, turkey, and spices. Cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add additional water as needed if too much is boiling off, or if flavor of broth is too strong.
  4. Remove bay leaf and serve with heavily buttered, warm homemade bread.